For the past decade or more, we have been hearing about ‘big data,’ which Wikipedia defines as ‘data sets that are so large or complex that traditional data processing application software is inadequate.’
Big data was recently re-defined for broader consumption in Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Kenneth Cukie as “The ability of society to harness information in novel ways to produce useful insights or goods and services of significant value.” This new definition is not limited by size, meaning that there can be useful information in small sets of data, such as in an association’s membership system.
From targeting to customization to personalization. The use of big data eventually morphed outside of the tech world and into the marketing community wherein they used to refer to using their data to ‘target’ potential audience. Then the marketing community upped its ‘value’ game by changing the reference of targeting to ‘customization.’ Now we are hearing targeting/customization has evolved into ‘personalization.’ A prime example of this new personalization is that when you are on the internet, ads will pop-up promoting a product you were researching the day before on the internet. Or, in Amazon, you might receive pop-up messaging that recommends products based on your past searches and/or purchases.
OTAC, similarly to other organizations collecting customer and potential customer data, wants to ensure that the information and messaging we distribute gets into the hands of our audience (occupational therapy community) who are most interested in the information.
While our targeting / customization / personalization is certainly not on the scale of mega companies like Amazon and Walmart, we do our best with the resources at hand to give you ‘useful goods or services … of value.’
How OTAC personalizes our messaging. Mostly OTAC personalizes its messaging and outreach based on the data that members enter in their customer record when they join or renew, or register for an activity. We personalize our messaging in a variety of ways. For example:
- Region 2 (Los Angeles County) is hosting its annual Tea with a Scholar on November 12. We send an electronic alert to those individuals who are identified as residing in Region 2. (If an event is held close to the border of another region, we might distribute to that region as well.)
- Associated with our Annual Conference, we send personalized messaging about the various practice tracks. For example, if your record indicates that your work setting is school-based or your practice area is pediatrics you would receive an electronic alert highlighting those related sessions, and so on for all the tracks.
- If we were advocating about a legislative bill related to hand therapy, we would send a personalized message to those in our customer system identified as working in hands or with a CHT credential about the bill.
Often we send electronic messages to our complete customer data set because while all the information may not be specifically personalized to you, we find that most of the OT community wants to know what is going on around the state in a broad sense.
Good data in our customer system also supports your professional networking. Did you know that members can access the OTAC membership customer system to search for other members? You can search by last name, organization, city, zip code, practice setting, and/or field of practice. As an example, I just conducted a dual search for members residing in Los Angeles and who practice in gerontology. Four names were listed on my screen as fitting those criteria. So now I could reach out to them with a challenging practice question, or inquire if they know of any job openings, or invite one or more to coffee to discuss issues specific to gerontology. (Please note: there is an option for members to indicate that their record is to not be published, which means other members cannot connect with them through the OTAC membership customer system.)
Get the information you most want. You can help us ensure we send the personalized information you most want by keeping the data in your record current. From your mailing address and email to your title and organization to your practice setting and field of practice, these fields all help to ensure we send you the information you most want. (Note: Any time that you update your mailing address in your OTAC membership record, be sure to notify the California Board of Occupational Therapy about your new address. It’s the law.)
How to Update Your Record.
- Got to our website, www.otaconline.org
- Scroll to the bottom of the website home page.
- Click on Update Your Contact Info in the Quick Connect (purple area) at the bottom of the page.
- Log-in with your email address and password.
- You will be directed to the My Information page.
- Click on Edit/View Information.
- You will be directed to the Edit My Information page.
- You can make all necessary contact/profile information on this page.
- Once you have updated your record accordingly, click Save at the bottom of the screen.